Looking for the right interior designer can sometimes be an arduous journey. You’d want to find one that understands your needs and share your aesthetic values as much as being reliable and trustworthy.
For newly-weds Justine and Liyong, the journey to find the right partners to renovate their home was a relatively easy one. They came across interior design firm The Scientist online when researching for their renovation and liked what they saw. After the initial meeting with designers Alvin Ling and Krays Lee, the couple was delighted to discover that they were all on the same wavelength.
It was a true collaborative process for the homeowners – who are dentists in their early 30s – and designers Alvin and Krays. While the final look of the 1,200-square foot HDB unit is the realisation of all parties involved the homeowners had a few specific requirements.
One was to have a spacious kitchen to prep, cook and entertain. As such, the original walls containing the kitchen were taken down to open up the space. An island was installed to create an additional worktop for meal preparations and, at the same time, double up as a secondary eating zone. As the designers explain, the island is also ideal for hosting as it allows for interaction while preparing food.
To give this zone its stylish vibe, a cool colour palette of blues and greys was chosen. Parts of the walls in the kitchen were finished in cement screed as a nod to the industrial theme. But to offset the solid hues are art tiles in two contrasting patterns – one used as a backsplash in the cooking area and the other on the floors.
The eclectic art tiles used for the backsplash can also be found on a small area leading to the corridor. On why they decided to go for two different sets of tiles on the communal zone’s floors, the designers explain, “It was mainly to segregate the areas, and as the homeowners did not want a cookie-cutter design, we came up with a daring way to do so. The space also became bigger after our space planning, and hence we decided to use different tiles to highlight different activity zones.”
While the kitchen and corridor sport vividly-hued patterned tiles, the living room and adjacent dining area feature a markedly subdued woodgrain-patterned floor. This is to complement the restful vibe of the communal area with its forest green wall and a mix of modern and rustic furniture.
Filling the space with standalone furniture rather than built-ins, Justine and Liyong’s living room features a carefully-curated selection of pieces from furniture brands like Commune and Martlewood. The couple worked hand-in-hand with their designers to style this space and the adjacent dining area according to the nature-inspired look they love. Of note is the six-seater dining table complemented by a series of pendant lamps in varying lengths that give this space a hip cafe vibe, especially with the abundance of light streaming through the generously-sized windows nearby.
As the designers explain, this and the use of other colour blocking techniques in the house work as a way to break the monotony of the usual white washed walls and to bring out the character of certain spaces.
Awash in a colour scheme of deep cerulean and dark grey, the master bedroom is a peaceful private sanctuary for the homeowners. Again, Alvin and Krays’ playful touches of combining quirky details such colour blocking and various tiles give this space its unique charm. To create a bigger wardrobe for the couple, the designers also opened up one of the common rooms’ walls.
The adjacent master en suite took some inspiration from bathrooms found in sophisticated boutique hotels with its dark colour palette. It was a bold move to choose a dark theme for the bathroom but the designers explain, “The existing bathroom was not bright to begin with so instead of choosing the usual bright coloured items, we had a crazy idea to enhance the space with a darker scheme where the use of lighting can bring out the mood and ambience together with other little design elements to create a space where the homeowners can shower and relax.”
Going against the grain may not be for everyone but as this quirkily chic home proves: taking risks can yield amazing results.
This was adapted from an article originally published in the August 2017 issue of SquareRooms. Photo credits: The Scientist